Jesse Matson, the suspended North Dakota attorney, found a way to let his feelings be known. Jesse seems a little ticked off people are on to him.
Meanwhile, Matson is licensed as an attorney in good standing in Minnesota. Not sure how long that will remain true.
Also, we should mention to family court litigants; each time a DA “declines to prosecute” tick-tock goes the Statute of Limitations, clock.
It began with the multi-state licensed, Gary Karpin….doing 15 years.
Gary Karpin’s career as a rip off artist came to an end when multiple State Bar personnel decided to join forces to work together.
As with Karpin, sometimes it works out.
In another area, family court litigants often find the police and DA, tough sells.
Such was the case in San Diego, with former DA contract worker, Patricia Gregory.
Gregory worked for the DA in “Child support enforcement.” Then she launched her own career. Part-time family law attorney; part-time embezzler.
What was bothersome for me was while fighting the State Bar proceeding, Gregory refused to take down her website – as the judge had ordered. Then she refused to talk about it.
So it was somewhat expected Gregory would bolt from the parking lot. Note the careful use of the turn signal.
Patricia Gregory eventually went to trial. Fortunately, in the middle of trial, Patricia Gregory saw the futility of her situation, and gave up.
Kudos to her for saving taxpayers the expense of a complete trial. Still, in the end, Patricia Gregory said she just couldn’t go to jail.
Anything but jail.
She went to jail.
Arizona and California led the way in prosecuting attorneys who ripped off their clients.
One California attorney, Ron Lais; answered to no one. Lais came to the attention of the State Bar not many years after obtaining his license. Sadly, the California State Bar dallied for 15 years. Then Lais outfoxed them. When the Bar forced Lais to resign, as a carrot, Bar officials said Lais’s license would be reinstated once he paid restitution. (My guess is they figured with Lais alone, the Client Restitution Fund would take a major hit.)
However, once the order was in place, Lais immediately declared bankruptcy and the bankruptcy judge wiped out the debt.
What the State Bar hadn’t counted on was that Lais was making far too much money ripping people off on-line, world-wide; to care about reinstating an actual, law license.
That’s how lucrative the practice of ripping people off online, has become.
This is serious stuff folks. But one columnist made funny hay with Lais’ behavior in the funniest column I’ve read to date.
And good news: It turned out well for the victims of Lais, too. They were heard. This was the best column quoting the sentencing judge, bar none, before or since.
(I met a number of Lais victims when I attended his sentencing.) Then came the follow up column as after all, I’d called the columnist after Lais threatened his life, to say, “Join the club.”
However as Lais’s brand of arrogant lunacy provided about nine good columns, practically writing themselves, the columnist kind of thanked us all at the end.
From the OC Register:
As far as my new assistant, Anna Couturier, has been able to tell, the 14-year sentence handed to Ron Lais last week might be the longest given to someone in this state solely for the unauthorized practice of law.
Among the sources Anna tapped was Karen Nobumoto, a Los Angeles County prosecutor and former president of the State Bar Association, who spent one year working on UPL cases and was involved in one in which the defendant got 13 years, four months. But she has never heard of anything beyond 14 years. For one thing, it is usually charged as a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum one-year sentence. Nobumoto estimated Lais could be released after serving as little as half his sentence.
The unsung heroes of the Lais prosecution are a trio of civilians who had not been personally harmed by Lais (at least initially), but were just ticked off at his tactics and kept pressure on the state Bar, police and prosecutors.
The squeakiest wheel was Bonnie Russell, a San Diego County woman who called Lais in 1999 to consider hiring him but got a bad vibe immediately. She looked into his background and discovered some complaints and, with the idea of creating a lawyer-referral Web site (www.1st-pick.com) already brewing in her mind, she went after Lais on the Internet, trying to warn away others.
A key moment came in 2001, when she discovered that Lais – by then suspended by the bar – had created “meta-tags” on his own Web site so that people typing “Orange County lawyer” and “family law attorney” into a search engine would be directed to it. This she reported to Anaheim police, and she immediately got a call from the D.A.’s office, which was already working up a case. The meta-tags were eventually used as evidence against Lais.
Lais sued Russell repeatedly and threatened to sue her Web site hosts, but two men came to her rescue to keep the anti-Lais campaign going. A San Diego lawyer named Mick Meagher countered Lais’s numerous lawsuits and got him declared a vexatious litigant, and a civic hell-raiser in Dallas named Allen Gwinn agreed to host her Web site when the larger Internet service providers were scared off by Lais’s threats.
I continue to get calls from former Lais clients, many of whom want to know about restitution. The State Bar Association has a victims fund, and at least one Lais victim has already received some money. Call (213) 765-1140.
I mention all this to point out there are very good attorneys with the State Bar who are quite willing to work with District Attorneys to end the practice of hiding crimes behind a law license. My suspicion is North Dakota and Minnesota have some good people. People Jesse Matson isn’t going to like.
And for those attorneys we would’t hire, see the small, “Do Not Hire” list.
We have a list of favorites, too. One would be Frank Mickadeit. After covering the courts for many years, Frank went to law school and now practices law. 🙂